Brexit focus turns to holding election, with more division

Britain’s former finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday he would vote against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bid on Monday to force an election, saying parliament should be focused on trying to secure a deal to leave the European Union.

“I shall be voting against him. This is not the time to be holding a general election, it is a time for cool heads and grown up government,” Hammond told Sky News, adding that parliament should instead be scrutinizing the Brexit deal.

“The government should stop making threats, stop throwing tantrums and get on with the grown up business of doing its business.”

Meanwhile, two British opposition parties want to hold elections even earlier than Johnson has proposed as they try to ensure the country doesn’t leave the European Union without an agreement.

The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats say they will push for a Dec. 9 election, three days earlier than Johnson has proposed and years earlier than the next scheduled vote in 2022.

They also plan to ask EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline to at least Jan. 31 to provide more time to debate Johnson’s withdrawal agreement.

Johnson says if lawmakers approve a Dec. 12 election he will attempt to push his Brexit deal through Parliament quickly. He is seeking to delay Britain’s Oct. 31 Brexit deadline by only a few weeks to keep pressure on legislators.

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